Having the rest of the year not having to work (I know!!) I've decided to leave the UK winter behind and I’m lucky enough to be about to embark on the holiday I’ve always dreamed of. Me, myself and I on a grand tour of California and surrounding attractions.
Posted below is a route/itinerary I intend to follow UNLESS you good people here on RTA tell me differently!
More importantly, if anyone is willing and able to offer suggestions around this route, I would be eternally grateful. In particular, I would welcome advice on:
- Better route choices than the ones I’ve made
- ‘Don’t miss’ suggestions – I’d hate to miss anything!
- Good places to stay / eat
- Most importantly, time-wise I’ve budgeted approx two months to do this – if anyone has any advice on whether this is feasible, fantastic
- (Also, if anyone can look at parts of this journey and say “that’s a two day drive (or whatever) – you should think about overnighting at XXX” once again, I’d welcome any suggestions)
OK, here’s the current route / itinerary:
San Francisco for 5 days (hotel booked) Sept 25th to 30th
Rent a car
Drive across through Sacramento to Lake Tahoe area – spend a day or so there
Then zig-zag down through the Sierra Nevada passes:
• West on Hwy 50 (Echo Summit) to Placerville
• South on 49 to Angels Camp
• East on 4 (Ebbetts Pass, Monitor Pass) to Topaz Lake
• South on 89 then back West on 108 (Sonora Pass)
Then it’s Yosemite time! Will be spending two days (at least) ‘doing’ Yosemite
Head out east over the Tioga Pass to stay at Lee Vining or somewhere around Mono Lake
South on the 395 to Mammoth Lakes, Devil’s Postpile and Bishop
North then east on Hwy 6 (Montgomery Pass) to Tonopah
South on H95 and then south-west on 267 into Death Valley, Scotty’s Castle, Ubehebe Crater, Zabriskie Point, Badwater, Dante’s Peak and all that!
Head east to Pahrump
Continue east, skirting north of Las Vegas towards Zion Nat Park
Then Bryce Canyon Nat Pak
Then Grand Staircase NP
Grand Canyon North Rim
Grand Canyon South Rim
Some well-earned R&R in Las Vegas and trips out to Hoover Dam and Red Rock Canyon
Leaving Las Vegas (ha!) head west on I15 to Barstow
Then head back north on the 395 to China Lake and Pinnacles Nat Monument
Carry on north on 395 as far as Whitney Portal
No choice but to turn back and head south on 395 then west over J41 (Sherman Pass) to Giant Sequoia Nat Monument and detour to Isabella Lake
Continue north through Springville and hope I’m not too late for Kings Canyon Nat Park (will probably be right on cusp of winter closing – late October)
Would like to get to Mono Hot Springs (see winter closing, above)
Then west to Fresno and down Hwy 9 to Bakersfield
Take the 58 out to Mojave, Boron and Edwards AFB and back to Barstow
Then I40 out to Amboy Crater
South then west on the 62 to Twentynine Palms & Joshua Tree Nat Park
On to Desert Hot Springs and Palm Springs
Down through San Jacinto Nat Monument to Salton Sea
Then head west off to San Diego for more R&R
Then it’s up the coast – San Diego to Los Angeles
Hwy 101 to Santa Barbara then on the Pacific Coast Highway 1 (PCH) to San Luis Obispo
‘Do’ the Big Sur coastline
Through Carmel, Monterey (Aquarium), Pebbel Beach, 17-mile Drive, and Santa Cruz
Back to San Francisco
Keel over with exhaustion!
I then have about 10 days to fill before flying to New York on Dec 10th. I will either spend that doing a mini-tour north of San Fran (any suggestions please?) or I’ll fly east earlier and spend a week in either Boston or Washington, visiting friends.
And that's it!!
Like I say, any advice, suggestions, do's and don't's etc, I'd welcome them all.
I will, of course, be blogging like there's no tomorrow! I already owe sites like this, TripAdvisor and one or two others a huge debt - and I intend to pay it back in full, with my new digital SLR and my trusty little laptop in my rucksack!